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Three in five couples argue about cleaning and hygiene roles at home. We believe that sharing equal perspectives around cleaning and hygiene tasks at home not only improves gender equality, but also leads to a more harmonious family life. Hygiene has no gender – so why let it get in the way?
“At Essity, we saw that different hygiene roles and stereotypes influence young people and that these roles affect hygiene overall in society. Stereotypes of how to behave and who does what in the home often go unquestioned, not only because people don’t want to change, but also because often people aren’t aware of their stereotypical behaviors,” explains Dora Pessenlehner, Senior Brand Manager, Essity, Hungary.
We believe it is especially important how children are taught about hygiene, and we are committed to addressing this by placing our perspective in all marketing communication and using a global, influential voice to increase awareness and break up gender stereotypes.
The different roles men and women take on at home will most certainly have an impact on children, particularly in terms of how they learn and develop their perceptions for later life. But how are children really affected by these different roles? Dávid Szél, a Hungarian psychologist and blogger (writing about his role as a father) shares his point of view on the importance of creating equal father and mother roles:
“Children don’t know anything about gender stereotypes when they are born. We teach them how they work. If a man works and does other visible things, that society appreciates and a woman does "invisible" housework that isn’t appreciated, they think that ‘I, as a boy or girl, am worth more or less.’ When a girl becomes a woman, they think they have more responsibilities and are less worth than a man, and when a boy becomes a man, they think they have more rights and power. That is what we are teaching our children every day - unconsciously and unwittinly”
Stereotypes of how to behave and who does what in the home often go unquestioned, not only because people don’t want to change, but also because often people aren’t aware of their stereotypical behaviors.
We believe that creating a dialogue and awareness around the role of hygiene is hugely important to eradicate gender stereotypes. Szél also observes that we have the power and responsibility to set a good example for others, particularly our children:
“Gender is a social construct and since how we act in society can change, societal differences between women and men are definitely not necessary.”
It is our intention to raise awareness about this topic and more importantly, break the stereotypes that society holds accountable for stress caused by inequality in the home.
“I think the most important thing is to emphasize that we have to share the tasks, which is good for everyone, good for the family, and good for the children. But it’s also important to emphasize that there is not only one best way – sharing is the main goal,” states Pessenlehner. “We portray values where both boys and girls play important roles when it comes to sharing hygiene tasks. Through these values, we want to communicate that having an equal perception on household chores is the normal thing to do and that men and women doing housework is an everyday occurrence, not just a special occasion.”
We will do everything it takes to achieve our mission, which is to help care for family well-being and step by step improve everyday family life.
Three in five couples argue about cleaning and hygiene roles at home.
- Essity Hygiene Matters report, 2016